The effects of disaster on children may linger and put their health and development at serious risk, according to a report from a renowned group of pediatricians. It makes no difference if the disaster is natural or man made.
“Disasters touch the lives of millions of children every year, and children are especially vulnerable to the aftereffects of these events,” said Dr. David Schonfeld, lead author of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) report and director of the National Center for School Crisis and Bereavement at the University of Southern California School of Social Work.
“As pediatricians, we are in an excellent position to detect and address a breadth of problems following a disaster, as well as to counsel families and communities on how to be prepared for a crisis situation,” he said.
The academy has cautioned that the adjustment problems experienced by children who have survived a crisis or lived through a disaster are a serious public health issue. In the United States alone, nearly 14 percent of children between the ages of 2 and 17 have experienced some type of disaster.